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2024 Future Product Report: Ford

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Ford has hit the reset button on global electrification, so where does that leave its future model plans?

Production of the electric Explorer will commence in Cologne during the third quarter
Production of the electric Explorer will commence in Cologne during the third quarter

Before looking at specifics of the next generation models planned for the later 2020s and beyond, it’s worth examining where Ford Motor Company finds itself globally. In Asia-Pacific, things are good, the Ranger being a particular bright spot; Europe best rated as OK-to-good rather than stand-out; North America excellent; and China, well, things could be better there.

Ford brand monthly sales in the People’s Republic have been lately failing to break the 10,000 (locally made) vehicles mark. The Mondeo accounts for around a third of volume with the Equator Sport a distant second followed by the Explorer, Edge and Escape. Which means the Equator and Evos are not doing too well, deliveries running at a rate of only a few hundred a month. Even worse, the Mustang Mach-E and Everest are usually only in double digits.

The company does have much to be positive about, as the relationships with its main JV partners seem good, even if volume is nowhere near that of General Motors let alone Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda or even Nissan. Still, Ford Motor Company has stuck it out through difficult periods before and seems committed to local market, as long as it can make decent returns.

China latest

One of the latest products for China is a specially adapted Ranger, badged Youqixia and part of a venture with Jiangling (JMC). Among the changes are an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission rather than the rest of the world’s GM-Ford ten-speeder plus a bespoke rear suspension system. This is especially interesting as it consists of coil springs and a Watts linkage instead of the live-rear axle which features in the Ranger for other markets. We may therefore see this standardised in the model manufactured in Asia, Africa and North America later in the 2020s.

JMC is also the partner for Bronco build, this SUV having gone into production during March. In common with the Ranger, the engine is Ford’s own 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo. There should be a facelift in 2025 for North America (the U725 series model debuted there in 2021) followed by China in 2026. Bronco generation eight is reportedly in the early stages of planning and will likely debut globally in 2030/2031.

There are PHEV powertrains plus facelifts coming for two of Ford China’s other vehicles later in 2024, these being the Equator and Equator Sport. As for the best selling Mondeo, this was new in 2022 so a mid-cycle update won’t happen until 2025, the successor being due in 2028/2029. And the Evos, which can be thought of as an SUV variant of the Mondeo sedan, should have similar timings for an equivalent restyle and replacement.

Europe Explorer

Shifting to Europe, 2024 sees the launch of a vital new model, the VW-based Explorer (pictured). The appeal of this family-sized electric SUV looks strong on paper and Ford even delayed the launch to make it more competitive still.

Rather than the originally planned battery, the Cologne-built Explorer is being launched with two new packs. The maximum range is claimed to be 602 km (374 miles) for the AP550 single motor Extended Range variant. That one has the 77 kWh battery, whilst ordering an Explorer with two motors means a 79 kWh battery and a maximum range of 529 km (329 miles). A Standard Range variant is coming later in 2024 with a less powerful motor and a 52 kWh battery with charging at up to 125 kW. Expect a life cycle of seven to eight years for the electric Explorer so a facelift would be due in 2028.

Puma ‘going great guns’

Still in the European region but dropping down a size segment, the Puma is going great guns and has taken over from the Fiesta as the brand’s B segment entry. Albeit one with far better margins than the discontinued hatchback ever had. Next comes an electric Puma called Gen-e. This will be made on the same production line at the Craiova plant as petrol Pumas. And the powertrain? This should be identical to that of the new Tourneo E-Courier (also made in the Romanian factory).

The Puma has just had a facelift, and there should be a second one in 2026 or 2027, including for the EV. The big question now is will Ford keep an IC engine available for the replacement? That model is penciled in for 2030 and until recently had been expected to be electric-only.

Now, the regional division is said to be reconsidering its decision to phase out all locally-made combustion engine models by 2030. That timeline could instead be pushed back to 2035 for most European markets. The UK might be one major exception to this, however.

The other model which Volkswagen will supply its MEB platform for is likely to be called Capri and also launched (in Europe) later in 2024. Surprisingly few details have been confirmed which has led many to believe that the model could be little more than an Explorer with a coupe-SUV rear end. Production will be on the same line at the Cologne factory.

Many had been wondering if the Saarlouis plant, also in Germany, might have a reprieve but Ford says no: Focus production will cease in November 2025. That means the end of vehicle build at the site. Some 3,500 workers will lose their jobs but 1,000 will remain until 2032 IG Metall said in February. What exactly they will be occupied with is not known – Ford wants to sell the plant, it says. Chery Auto was reported to be a potential buyer but a proposed deal allegedly fell through last October.

In Spain, there is far happier news for the workforce at a site which presently makes the strong-selling Kuga SUV. Almussafes (officially Valencia Body & Assembly) is to be refitted for annual build of 300,000 SUV units commencing in 2027. A government minister told the local media these details earlier in May with Ford yet to officially comment on his disclosure.

We do know that the company intends to produce what it termed in March ’a multi energy’ passenger vehicle at Almussafes. Will this be a new Kuga with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains? Or possibly a cheaper rival for the Dacia Duster which some say is coming and will revive the EcoSport name? In fact, there could even be two models sized around the 4.3 and 4.6 m marks. Either or both such SUVs would then be facelifted in 2031 and discontinued in 2035, replaced by EVs.

NA e-mobility reboot

Moving now to North America, the reboot of electrification planning is equally dramatic. One example will be the second generation Mach-E, the launch of which is set for 2027, the crossover again being produced in Mexico. Ford is understood to be working hard at getting as much cost out of this project as possible, while it seems unlikely there will be any production in China for generation two.

CEO Jim Farley says the firm’s Model e could lose as much as US$5.5bn in CY2024. In that context, the large-scale cuts to almost all areas of the electric division’s programmes are understandable. Yet rather than mass cancellations of future EV projects, Ford is said to instead be assessing each one for profit potential within the first 12 months of launch.

Smaller EVs are one major shift, with the first SUV believed to be set for an end of 2026 launch. This model is being self-developed and not part of the alliance with Volkswagen. It might also be largely restricted to North America, where an entry price point of US$25,000 is the goal.

What of the future developments for the company’s biggest earners, the F-Series pick-ups? F-150 is now at the mid-point of its life cycle, a facelift and other changes having been announced last September. Changes included a new base engine – the 3.3-litre V6 was dropped and replaced by a more powerful 2.7-litre EcoBoost. Other choices are 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6, 3.5-litre PowerBoost V6, 3.5-litre High Output V6 on the F-150 Raptor, 5.0-litre V8, and 5.2-litre supercharged V8 on the F-150 Raptor R.

Generation fifteen is due in 2026, the new model being expected to resemble the Lightning in certain ways though the frame will be new and unique. Sales of this electric variant – strong for a time after its May 2021 introduction – have fallen away in 2024 (and only 24,000 in CY2023). Therefore, as with other future EVs, the programme for its replacement is presently having major cost examinations and eliminations. Build will take place at the new Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center.

We should expect a major push for next generation (MY27) F-150 HEV and PHEV variants, these being both presently more appealing to the market and far less costly to produce. There may even be a hybrid option for the Super Duty successor, which would be a major innovation in that segment. Generation six of this huge pick-up is due on sale in early 2028 after a likely debut in the fourth quarter of 2027. Expect updated versions of the Canadian-made 6.8- and 7.3-litre gasoline V8s along with the option of the PowerStroke-branded diesel.

One other big-volume mainstay in North America is being updated this month, production of the facelifted 2025 Explorer having just commenced at the Chicago Assembly Plant. The 100-year old factory is set to continue making this large SUV until 2028 at which point build of generation seven should get underway. A replacement for the PHEV model presently offered only in LHD European markets should be available in North America for the first time.

One other plug-in hybrid should also be noted, as it has the potential to lift sales of what is already a highly successful global model to even higher levels. The PHEV Ranger is to be in production from late 2024, initially at the Silverton plant in South Africa where Ford has spent the equivalent of US$283m (5.2bn rand) on an expansion. Expect equivalent investments to be made at other facilities which produce this pick-up, including plants in Thailand and Michigan. The successor generation is still some time off, being expected to debut in 2030.

Source from Just Auto

Disclaimer: The information set forth above is provided by just-auto.com independently of Alibaba.com. Alibaba.com makes no representation and warranties as to the quality and reliability of the seller and products.

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